The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Explaining oneself

Reaching out to a helpdesk is one of these things I’ll often avoid as some of them work like chatbots.

It doesn’t matter how well the issue is described, they assume a task and move towards it. Asking them questions that are not along the line of their conversation doesn’t work as they can’t connect them with the task they see. They are so focused that it becomes hard work to find something allowing them to interrupt their routine. It’s tricky as it needs to be done with information that stops them long enough to review their understanding of the problem.

One could see it as an issue with the time they’ll allocate to address the problem. However, that is only a symptom. The more focused they are on providing the solution, the less they’ll think about the person they are interfering with. They’ll assume that having a problem is based on a lack of competence. Consequently, they will not have a lot of interest in the description of the problem the customer can provide.

For the customer, it then can become a challenge to find the information that will interrupt the routine and create the space to share what he or she is looking for.

For such a helpdesk, serving the customer works by having closed the issue as fast as possible. They’ll advertise speed.

Luckily, some work differently. They take the reported issue and start querying based on what they understood. And once they helped solve the issue they’ll even acknowledge the thank you note. For them, serving the customer works by attending to the human connection.

The approach chosen by these helpdesks is an interesting metaphor for many of the conversations we have on a daily basis.

People will want to help others understand what they tried to do or where they are coming from. They’ll do it by focusing on their side of the story. It happens based on the belief, that if the other would know what they know, things will fall into place if they only explain it well enough. It is assuming that knowledge is at the heart of it all.

However, that’s rarely the case. Emotions, beliefs, experiences, and desires also shape the individual context.

And not to forget, whatever people say, in such a situation people see themselves as the most important person. It becomes visible in the way, that they’ll either shut down or seek to explain themselves.

It’s a process that invites people to stick to their position and see the situation from there. It’s the hope for a magical intervention to come by itself.

The real magic however happens if one of both decides to leave his position and ask the other to describe how the situation looks like from their perspective.

The magic lies in creating the space to feel the connection. It transforms the emotions present and opens the door to a new understanding.



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